Report Highlights Positive Trends in Youth Behavior
> 7/13/2007 10:52:17 AM

According to a report released by The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, teens are having less sex and using more condoms. According to data complied in 2005, 47 percent (6.7 million) of high-school students reported having had sexual intercourse, a sharp decline from 54 percent in 1991. In addition, the use of condoms also saw a steady increase. Of the adolescents who reported having sex in 2005, 63 percent of them indicated that they used a condom, an increase from 46 percent in the data from 1991. Many experts credit continued campaigns in stressing the importance of safe sex with the decline. The report also found that more teens were completing high-school, and the teenage birthrate, which was 39 per 1,000 young women (ages 15-17) in 1991, had dropped to 21 births per 1,000 young women in 2005—a record low.

The AP, quoted James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a nonprofit group based in Washington, as saying:

“I think the H.I.V./AIDS epidemic and the efforts in the ’80s and ’90s had a lot to do with (the decline). We need to encourage young teens to delay sexual initiation, and we need to make sure they get all the information they need about condoms and birth control”.

The results of the survey suggest that teens are taking responsibility for their actions and appear to be making wiser choices. This evidence should be viewed as an indication of sustained success for parents and educators, but these results don't provide the entire picture. Sexual intercourse has been on a steady downward trend, but that does not mean that sexual risky behaviors are down across the board. Similarly, while these results echo other drug use surveys, this report did not address the negative trends in drug use, primarily prescription drugs and ecstasy. Continued efforts and open dialogue about healthy behaviors, combined with campaigns should keep these trends moving in a positive direction, but the modest successes thus far don't mean that there's not work to be done.

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